FTC shuts down mortgage relief scam

ID-100247782It’s hard enough to get behind on your mortgage, without having a scam artist get you into even more trouble.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently shut down an operation it says perpetrated a wide-ranging mortgage relief scam. At the FTC’s request, a federal court issued orders against 22 defendants who offered cash-strapped consumers home loan modification services that the FTC says violated the FTC Act and the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule.

The orders ban 21 defendants from operating debt relief services. The 22nd defendant must turn over proceeds from the defendants’ activities. Monetary judgments from all defendants total almost $51 million.

According to the FTC, the defendants’ loan modification enterprises falsely claimed to provide legal help to save consumers’ homes from foreclosure and lower their mortgage payments. They charged advance fees of between $2,500 and $3,500, but delivered little or no help.

Defendants (each subject to a court order, resulting from either a negotiated settlement, a default judgment, or a sanction for failing to participate in the litigation) are as follows:

  • A to Z Marketing, Inc.; Apex Members, LLC; Apex Solutions, Inc.; Expert Processing Center, Inc.; Smart Funding Corp.; Ratan Baid; and Madhulika Baid entered into a stipulated final order;
  • Top Legal Advocates, P.C., entered into a stipulated final order;
  • Backend, Inc., entered into a stipulated final order;
  • William D. Goodrich and William D. Goodrich Atty, Inc. had a judgment entered against them as a sanction. Both defendants answered the amended complaint but then failed to respond to discovery or otherwise participate in the litigation.
  • Evergreen Law Offices, PLLC, had a default judgment entered against it for its failure to respond to the Commission’s amended complaint;
  • Backend Services, Inc.; Emax Loans, Inc.; Legal Marketing Group, Inc.; Nationwide Law Center, Inc.; United States Law Center, P.C.; Interstate Law Group, LLC; Millennium Law Center, P.C.; and SC Law Group, P.C., had default judgments entered against them for their failures to respond to the Commission’s amended complaint;
  • Amir Montazeran had a default judgment entered against him for his failure to respond to the Commission’s amended complaint;
  • Business Team, LLC, had a default judgment entered against it for its failure to respond to the Commission’s amended complaint.

Business Team and Montazeran are appealing their judgments.